To many, a pair of headphones is a very personal item. Once considered a luxury ticket item, a good pair of over-ear headphones are now more of an essential to daily living. When you do start shopping around for a pair, it’s crucial to remember that there’s certainly no ‘one size fits all’ rule. So, if you are about to drop a couple of hundred dollarydoos on a pair, you’re gonna want them to suit you to a T.
Everyone’s heard of the heavy hitters Bose, JBL, Sony but in recent years there has been an outbreak of smaller independent companies catered toward the audiophile who prioritise quality of design over the brand behind the product.
One of these very companies is AIAIAI. Just last week, we were lucky enough to get our hands on their latest flagship model the TMA-2 and since then we’ve been putting them through their paces.
Born in Copenhagen, the global epicentre for product design, AIAIAI was developed with one thing in mind – modularity. This allows the user to individually configure your headphones to best suit your need.
The TMA-2’s foundation lays in its wireless Bluetooth headset. From there you select your speaker driver, ear pads and cable. We’re big fans of this modular approach to product design for a number of reasons. One, there’s something special about having a degree of influence over how your product is built and secondly, the TMA-2 is able to adapt like no other headphone on the market.
If down the track, you want to upgrade or change your sound driver or ear pads, there’s no need to replace the whole product. This is, without a doubt, the best feature of the TMA-2.
Sound quality is another big selling point for the TMA-2. There’s something uniquely ambient about these headphones, that audiophiles will truly appreciate. We tried out the SO4 Neodymium driver with a Japanese voice coil and an ultra-lightweight 40 mm diaphragm. Now, we don’t know what any of this means, but the results are clear and vibrant audio with superb resonance.
Unfortunately, there is no noise cancelling function with any of the current drivers, but the modular build could allow for a future upgrade to your device.
No matter what your configuration, the TMA-2 is pretty as ever. The matte black finish is proof of the fastidious Scandinavian design process that went into the production and makes these some of the best looking headphones available right now. On top of that, the USB-C compatibility ensures that you’ll be able to keep listening wherever you go.
If there were any gripes to be had, it would be with the comfort of the headphones. It’s definitely worth spending a little extra dosh to get a range of ear pads, as they take a while to get used to and some are better for prolonged listening than others.
The top of the line TMA-2 preset comes in at AUD$420. This throws it in the same arena as the Bose Quiet Comfort and Sony’s WH-1000XM3 and, we’ve got to say, it holds its own.
As mentioned before, headphones suit some better than others; each to their own, but it’s definitely worth checking out AIAIAI’s TMA-2.